People with alcohol and drug abuse problems often struggle with depression, anxiety and stress. Although we all experience fear or anxiety at certain moments in our lives and these normal emotions can protect us from unknown stressors or unexpected situations, people need to seek professional mental health support when anxiety and depression reach levels that prevent them from functioning normally.


It is not unusual for people who suffer from depression and anxiety to self-medicate by using chemical substances as an escape from the undesired feelings of sadness, loneliness or even panic attacks. This in turn can result in developing a dependency and thus an addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Vicious Circle of Anxiety and Substance Abuse

There is a harmful relationship between anxiety and addiction. Although initially used as a relief, alcohol and drug abuse ultimately enhances the symptoms of anxiety. The patient revolves in a vicious circle: as they feel more and more anxious they increase the amount of drugs they take which then results in them developing tolerance to the chemical substance and finally becoming physically and mentally  dependent on the drug to relieve their anxiety and depression.

To make things worse, substance misuse has been shown to be more widespread in people with anxiety than in the general population.

Common triggering factors of anxiety in the case of substance abuse are:

  • self-medicating as a way to control anxiety in stressful situations,
  • hereditary predisposition to both conditions,
  • biochemical imbalance in the brain (e.g: low levels of serotonin in the brain),
  • withdrawal from drugs often leads to typical anxiety triggers such as fear, insomnia, nervousness; unresolved childhood trauma, bereavement or job loss.

Extended Treatment for Anxiety and Addiction

At Castle Health we have over 30-years of experience in treating dual-diagnosis. A dual diagnosis describes the co-existence of both an addictive disorder (such as alcoholism, drug addiction or gambling) and an anxiety health issue.

We treat anxiety and addiction within an integrated and unified treatment programme which consists of medical care and psycho-educational targeted therapy. Each patient is individually assessed and receives their own treatment plan. We provide a wide range of psychotherapies such as individual therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, trauma therapy, mindfulness that all address the underlying psychological causes of anxiety and addiction and teach patients to deal with anxious feelings without using alcohol or drugs.

All Castle Health medical and therapeutic professionals involved in the patient’s ongoing care communicate with each other on a daily basis and constantly re-evaluate the progress of their condition.

Extended Treatment for Depression and Addiction

Depression becomes a clinical diagnosis when the patient experiences regular depressive episodes almost every day for a prolonged period of time. When their life is negatively affected by the consequences of depression and their normal functioning is hindered in daily activities and relationships, people should seek medical help for their depression.

As with anxiety, people tend to self-medicate to treat depression and end up experiencing full-blown addiction. Patients with a diagnosis of depression and a chemical or behavioural addiction (e.g: gambling, gaming, sexual compulsion) have complex needs which are most effectively managed in a residential rehab setting like the long term treatment programme at Castle Health.

Within our long-term treatment programme for depression and addiction, we examine both the deep-rooted causes of addiction and the co-occurring psychological barriers of depression. We treat the patient for both their depression and self-medicating substance use at the same time.

A personalised treatment plan is set up for each individual and then they receive the medical and professional therapeutic care they need in clinical assessments, individual therapy and group sessions.

We have an all-inclusive treatment programme that offers all patients specialised therapies to treat depression. We prescribe cognitive-behavioural therapy sessions, trauma therapy, mindfulness and other complementary therapies such as equine therapy that help rebalance the body chemistry and greatly improve the physical and psychological consequences of depression.

Our unified approach also ensures that a team of experts in psychiatry, therapy and medical care all contribute to the patient’s recovery plan. This is a great benefit to dual-diagnosis patients because they need an extended time for recovery and professional attention in order to achieve long-lasting abstinence.

Contact us for more information on our programme for treating anxiety, depression and addiction.